I’m a pretty consistent Drake hater, but I always go through the time and motion of a new project.
Dark Lane Demo Tapes is an example of what a real mixtape is, not a “commercial mixtape”. Drake and his team put together a collection of songs they had no intention of putting on an album and threw them together for a little fan service.
This graphic tweeted by @theStrapped on Twitter shows how most of the songs were already out in some form before the tape’s release. Dark Lane Demo Tapes features a lot of rapping Drake, which whether I’m his biggest fan or his biggest hater that’s always welcome for what it does to the game. That is something I kind of clicked on with this project I wanna talk about later.
“Deep Pockets” was an excellent start to the tape that I had never heard any of before, 40 (of course) and Plain Pat put forth top-tier production that could be expected from that duo. Drizzy starts off stunting which is a pretty comfortable and good place for him to go sometimes. Then you get a few more decent tracks, followed by Drake and Chris Brown putting forth the A+ R&B game the superstars are relied on.
Then comes “Toosie Slide” I can’t be mad at the hustle, but the song is terrible. That’s not the point in it though, it was created specifically to capitalize on the phenomenon of 14-year-olds on TikTok making a song blow up because they flail their arms to it. I’m not sure if it took over TikTok necessarily but it definitely had an impact on social media in general with the dance and “challenge” associated.
I love Future and I know the duo’s collaborations melt brains or whatever, but “Desires” did nothing for me. “Time Flies” is a fine song, it’s the type that if we were allowed to go outside I guarantee that’s what Snapchat stories of people in their car outside the bars would be playing. “Landed” picked things back up for me though, I was a big fan of that one. Then we come back to another Future collaboration, it might be due to Young Thug joining them on this one but I thought it was way better. The three of them show lots of chemistry and vibe back and forth really enhancing each other while also shining in their individual lanes. Which brings us to “Pain 1993″…
People are starving for Playboi Carti due to his constant teasing and then ghosting of a new album release. This song was teased back in January and people lost their minds thinking it would eventually be Carti’s lead single to the project. This song had the most hype out of all the songs that came with the tape and it was a huge disappointment. I’ve seen a few Twitter warriors still defending it, but the reception has been mostly negative. Personally I think they sound wrong, nobody sounds like they belong. Carti’s favorite producer/best collaborator Pi’erre Bourne was the lone producer and even he sounded off. I really hope that’s the last time we hear from these two together, it just didn’t work like everyone hoped it would.
Then we get to “Losses” which gives vulnerable Drake and some recordings of his father as well. This song gives the wonderful line “I do it for the Grahams, not the ‘Gram”.
“From Florida with Love” is probably my favorite new Drake song since If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late came out in 2015. Drizzy and MexikoDro (who probably could’ve given a more appropriate Carti X Drake beat) sounded very good together. Supposedly the song was a leftover from the Scorpion sessions but I thought it was way better than anything actually on Scorpion. Then came “Demons” which for me was the only song I think the feature outperformed Drake. Sosa Geek and Fivio Foreign crushed the JB Made It production, but it was a drill beat with some New York rappers it wasn’t exactly Drake’s forte. Then finally we come to “War” the single released back in December.
I assume it was added to help with streams, a solid track that we’ve all heard before.
It was interesting to me to like this tape in a time where it seems like so many people are hating on Drake and what he does. I’ve been hating Drake since “Best I Ever Had” just couldn’t be escaped, that was a decade ago. The weird thing to me is that it seems like a lot of people are just hating to hate, hating because he’s on top still. I hate him because he’s clearly a pop star that pretends to be a rapper and steals the rap spotlight. Although, after enjoying this album and trying to figure out why everyone else was just hating with no substance as to why I started doing some research. Drake hasn’t always written all of his lyrics which is fine for him, but a lot of passionate rap fans (myself included) feel like writing your own bars is a requirement for being an elite rapper. Another problem I have is that he does the chameleon/copycat stuff every so often, where he steals a sound or flow or style or entire concept (see “Cha Cha” by DRAM). He does lots of R&B or singing stuff and he makes music that gets pop radio play. Those are my big points on discrediting him as the “King of Rap”, but Twitter warriors have no such argument. They just hate and say he sucks, which is obviously not true at all. I don’t think by any means that Drake lacks talent or sucks. This is when it hit me, that’s just Drake, that’s him, that’s his role. Like a WWE superstar adapts characters and plays a villain or mimics another character or is always changing/improving/innovating their gimmick, that is what Drake does. That’s his role, to be whatever it takes to be a top guy, which is why I have a strong disapproval. I like the hero who invents a new sound or gives a beautiful album with unheard of lyricism. Drake just does the best, he perfects whatever sound he wants and tops the chart with it. It took me a long time to figure that out, but it gives me a newfound opinion of him. I still don’t like him, I still hate five projects he has released, I’ll still not listen to him regularly, I’ll still get mad when I hear the same song 24/7, but I’m supposed to.
Don’t hate just to hate. Dark Lane Demo Tapes is a 7.5/10 and top 5 2020 release for now.
Thanks for reading.